Meet Indiana Kelley’s MBA Class Of 2024

The iconic Sample Gates are a familiar Indiana University landmark for many Kelley School students

KNITTING, DIVING, AND INFLUENCING

Think those numbers are impressive? At Gametion, Chabi Gupta was charged with boosting installs of a top downloadable game by 50% by her CEO – on her first day on the job! He obviously didn’t know who he hired. She produced a 120% jump in installs within two months of executing her plan.  If you’re looking for true impact, Daniel Alfaro Arellano can share an inspiring number from his six years managing the Undocumented Student Services operation at UC San Diego.

“I created new programs and services that became models at other institutions and contributed to the retention and graduation of over 1,000 undocumented students on my campus.”

Those are just some of victories posted by a small section of the Class of 2024. Beyond that, Chabi Gupta made the Top 100 Digital Stars list in Forbes India. At the University of Kentucky, Jada Linton was crowned the first Black homecoming queen in school history. Claire Perkins, an Indianapolis native and systems engineer, knits everything from baby sweaters to cat hats, while Alyssa Rapelje is a certified scuba diver. And if any class member needs relocation advice, they may want to hit up Andrew Lash.

“My wife and I have moved nine times, living in Colorado, Utah, Indiana, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee. I love experiencing new cities, meeting new people, and finding new places to eat.”

KELLEY’S CLASS OF 2024 MBA PROFILE

Increasingly, Kelley is becoming a destination school. Case in point: Applications have nearly doubled over the past two years, rising from 728 to 1372. At the same time, the Kelley MBA has grown increasingly selective, as the acceptance rate has dropped from 31.3% to 24% in the past year alone. Overall, the Class of 2024 features 125 students.

Another positive sign for Kelley? Testing numbers rose again. Average GMAT, for one, climbed from 679 to 685 over the past year. The same is true for GREs, where the overall average improved from 315 to 318 (with nearly a quarter of the class opting for the GRE). The average undergraduate GPA even inched up from 3.33 to 3.38. As a whole, 48% of the class scored 700 or higher on the GMAT, while 45% submitted GPAs at 3.5 or higher.

As 29 years old on average, the class is slightly older than a traditional full-time cohort. In fact, the oldest member of the class is a robust 39! As a whole, 45% of the class hails from outside the United States, with 19 countries represented in the mix. While Kelley is sometimes called a “Midwest” school, just 27% of the Class of 2024 last worked in the Midwest. The rest of the class includes students from the West and Southwest (12%), Northeast and Mid-Atlantic (10%), and the South (7%).

Overall, the class averages 6 years of work experience. As undergraduates, 37% majored in business-related fields. Another 27% hold engineer-related degrees. The remainder of the class studied Economics (10%), Sciences (10%), Social Sciences (7%), and Humanities (4%).

Indiana Kelley’s move to STEM in its MBA was announced in early March. Kelley photo

DEEP RESOURCES THANKS TO AN IMPRESSIVE PORTFOLIO OF DEGREE PROGRAMS

The needle didn’t just point up with the incoming class profile. Spring grads reported that their median base pay climbed $10K to $130,000 (with median bonus holding steady at $30K). Overall, 34% of the class accepted positions in consulting, while 28% chose marketing and sales. At the same time, 55% of the class chose positions in the Midwest. While the jobs number don’t deviate sharply from historical norms, it would be a mistake to call Kelley as a “marketing school.” For one, according to a 2022 U.S. News survey of MBA deans and directors, Kelley offers Top 10 programs in entrepreneurship, accounting, and information systems. For another, in the words of ’22 alum Sam Yoder, the Kelley MBA and alumni “can help you get wherever you want to go.”

“While we do send lots of people to Kellogg’s, Dominos, P&G, etc., we have a huge group of students going into almost every industry, including technology,” he tells P&Q. “As soon as I got on campus, Kelley’s Graduate Career Services coaches directed me to 10 different alumni at five different technology companies (Intuit, Salesforce, Microsoft, Google, and Intel) to help me start networking and identifying where I most wanted to go after graduation. Through those connections and alumni support, I landed my dream internship at Salesforce in Customer Success. My experience with the Business Marketing Academy also helped me land my role in technology. I studied business-to-business sales and marketing, product management, and product marketing, getting exposure to some of the most common roles for post-graduate MBAs.”

And it’s bigger than you might think. Kelley also operates the top online MBA program, not to mention one of the world’s highest-ranked undergraduate business programs. In fact, between its Bloomington, satellite, and online programming, Kelley hosts nearly 14,500 students, with full-time MBAs representing barely 1% of its student population. In other words, the Class of 2024 has a stunning surplus of expertise and resources to draw from as needed.

A NEW DEAN FOR KELLEY IN THE WORKS

This impressive setup was part of the vision laid out by Idie Kesner, P&Q’s 2019 Dean of the Year, who stepped down in July. During her tenure, she launched over 20 degree programs while hundreds of millions for benefits such as a standalone career services center and boosting the reach of its online program, which was named P&Q’s MBA Program of the Year in 2021. To replace Kesner, Kelley installed Ash Soni as interim dean in August. He previously served as the executive associate dean for academic programs,

“Ash has long served as a prominent, impactful leader at the Kelley School,” said Provost and Executive Vice President Rahul Shrivastav in a statement. “During his more than 40 years of experience at the school, he has helped guide the school through many transitions and changes, and that history recommends him well for the interim dean role.”

What comes next? Gale Gold Nichols, executive director of the Full-Time MBA Program, has some thoughts on that. In a 2022 Q&A with P&Q, she shared her thoughts on the present and future of the Kelley MBA, including new developments, the value of the Me, Inc. programming, and even some favorite spots around Bloomington for MBAs.

AN INTERVIEW WITH FULL-TIME MBA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR GALE GOLD NICHOLS

P&Q: What are the two most exciting developments at your program in the past year and how will they enrich the MBA experience for current and future MBAs?

GGN: “One is our new High-Tech Academy. Our academies have long been a key aspect of our program, acting as bridges between students’ regular coursework and the career paths that they plan to pursue. In recent years, we’ve seen some 25 to 30% of our students taking full-time jobs in the tech industry, so we felt that adding a High-Tech Academy to our industry exposure academies would be very valuable. The High-Tech Academy includes two courses—one that students can take before their summer internship and the other afterwards—and introduces students to a variety of companies, trends, and technologies.

Another is the expansion of our Me, Inc. professional development program, which we are implementing in August 2022. We’ve seen that companies are recruiting for summer internships earlier each year, and we want to help students to be ready for those early opportunities. We have accelerated students’ introduction to our career foundation academies — Business Marketing, Capital Markets, Consulting, Consumer Marketing, Strategic Finance, and Supply Chain and Digital Enterprise — so that students can get started in their academy of choice in August. Me, Inc. is including a four-day case competition that will include valuable workshops to build students’ case analysis, solution development, and presentation skills. We’re excited to roll this out with the Class of 2024.”

P&Q: If you were giving a campus tour, what is the first place you’d take an MBA applicant? Why is that so important to the MBA experience?

GGN: “I would take them to the Subhedhar Forum – also known as “the Atrium” — in the Godfrey Center, which is where our program is housed and classes are held. In addition to just being a bright, airy space, the Atrium is in the center of our building and is a hub for all activity. It includes some comfy chairs and high-top tables where students can be found talking or working. Student groups often set up there to promote upcoming events. We host all kinds of activities there, ranging from networking events with recruiters to coffee breaks to our annual multicultural night with song, dance, and music. The Atrium is the beating heart of the MBA program!”

P&Q: What is the most innovative thing you have introduced into the MBA program in recent years? How has it been a game changer for your program?

GGN: “In recent years, we have significantly increased the amount of business analytics content in our program – not only in the courses offered by our Operations and Decision Technologies department, but also in courses in marketing, finance and other areas. This has been extremely valuable for our students no matter what their career plans have been, and they’ve found it to be key to their success in internships and post-graduation. This robust analytics content also was key in our achieving STEM designation for most of our MBA program majors in early 2020.”

Gale Gold Nichols

P&Q: What have MBAs told you is the most memorable, signature experience they’ve had in your program? Why did it resonate so much with them?

GGN: “Many students have highlighted their experience on GLOBASE, our global consulting program. Through GLOBASE, students have the chance to work on a team consulting project for a small business or NGO in a developing country. Students have found GLOBASE to be a great chance to learn about and visit a country that was new to them, and the opportunity to support growing businesses in another part of the world has been exciting and meaningful. In addition, students value experiential learning, and acting as consultants in a new environment has provided tremendous learning opportunities. After a few years “break” from travel due to the pandemic, we’re looking forward to returning to GLOBASE experiences abroad in Botswana, Greece, and Indonesia in early 2023.”

P&Q: Where are some of your students’ favorite hang-outs? What do they do and why do they gravitate there?

GGN: “Here are a few:

  • Switchyard Brewing, because it’s a great place to relax and enjoy a delicious, local beer in a more quiet setting.
  • The Bluebird, a local venue that has great live music and often plays host to some of our larger social events.
  • The many international restaurants on Bloomington’s 4th Street, including Taste of India, Siam House, and Amrit India. Students enjoy the variety of foods and the different levels of spiciness.
  • Fat Dan’s, with its big platter fries for when you’re with a hungry bunch of classmates.
  • And a long-time Bloomington favorite, the Runcible Spoon, a quirky local restaurant that’s affordable with big portions—plus you can dine outside and enjoy the good weather.

As you can see, Kelley students are foodies, and Bloomington is a great place to try all sorts of cuisines.”

Next Page: Profiles of the Class of 2023

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